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The cost of parking incompetence is half a million pounds

July 19, 2011 2:43 PM
By Trevor Carbin

Traders, town councils, opposition councillors, newspapers and residents told Wiltshire Council's Conservative cabinet that excessive rises in car parking charges would be bad news for everyone including the council itself. Now the accounts for the first quarter of the 2011/12 financial year have been announced we can see the scale of the damage.

Provisional results show that income from car parking is £500,000 under budget. Other budget bungles include

- over £3million deficit in adult care services caused by miscalculations of need.

- an error of £783,000 in cost estimates for the waste collection contracts.

Fortunately the council has received extra money from the government which will go some way to addressing the deficits. Regarding the adult care budget finance officer Michael Hudson admitted that, "Demand for residential and nursing placements in the early part of the financial year has exceeded that which was assumed for budget setting and the death rate has also reduced. ... Officers have already begun discussions with NHS partners to address this."

On car parking Mr Hudson says: "A review of car parking income has identified that assumed user numbers are currently down overall on previous years in total, although the levels vary across the whole County. Due however to the increase in charges the level of income shortfall is proportionately less than the fall in usage. At this stage it is unclear if user numbers will pick up and this is just an initial reaction to the increase or part of a wider economic position. As such an estimate only has / can be made at this point, that being a shortfall of potentially £0.5m. More detailed modelling is being carried out to assess the forecast position, and further reports will be brought back in September with proposals to address the position."